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Denver Broncos: 2011 AFC West Champions

The Denver Broncos didn't win their game today, and in the end they didn't need to. Thanks to Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers, the Broncos are the Champions of the AFC West for the first time since 2005. The Chargers went to Oakland and beat the Raiders 38-26, ending Oakland's chances at the post-season.

The difference? In a tiebreaker, the Broncos took 'common-opponent record', specifically that magical win over the Miami Dolphins. The Raiders lost to the Dolphins a few weeks later and in the end, after 16 games, that win was the difference.

The Broncos will face the Pittsburgh Steelers next weekend. We'll talk all about that in the days ahead, but for now, after an ugly performance, take a moment to enjoy an AFC West Championship, in a season where winning the division seemed a highly unlikely goal. The Broncos got it done, however, and the playoffs have returned to Denver for the first time in 6 years.